Jimmy the Greatest! by Jairo Buitrago

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Jimmy lives in a small Caribbean town where there's not a whole lot to do. Fortunately though, there is a boxing gym, and one day the owner, Don Apolinar, suggests that Jimmy start training. He also gives Jimmy a cardboard box full of books and newspaper clippings all about Muhammad Ali. Jimmy reads and re-reads as he never has before. He is swept with admiration for Ali who said, "I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was." He starts to feel good, realizing that he doesn't need to have a lot of fancy stuff, that he's a pretty good boxer himself, and that he can look forward to the future. But by the time Don Apolinar has to leave for the big city, Jimmy realizes that he can have a great life running the gym, creating a library, dancing and boxing . . . right where he is.

Jairo Buitrago's simple yet inspiring story is complemented by Rafael Yockteng's funny, expressive illustrations, making this a book that will speak to many young readers.

The Spanish edition, ¡Jimmy, el más grande!, was recently named one of "Los mejores libros del año" (Best Books of the Year) by Venezuela's Banco del Libro.

About Jairo Buitrago

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Jairo Buitrago is a children's book author who has collaborated with Rafael Yockteng on several picture books, and together they won the "A la Orilla del Viento" contest (Mexico). Buitrago has also been named to IBBY's Honor List.Rafael Yockteng was born in Peru, but has lived in Colombia for most of his life. He has illustrated many highly acclaimed children's books, including Sopa de frijoles / Bean Soup by Jorge Argueta (USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List) and Mandaderos de la lluvia / Messengers of Rain, a bilingual anthology of Latin American poetry selected by Claudia M. Lee. He also won (with Jairo Buitrago) the "A la Orilla del Viento" contest, organized by Fondo de Cultura Econo´mica de Me´xico.
Published April 24, 2012 by Groundwood Books. 48 pages
Genres: Sports & Outdoors, Children's Books.

Unrated Critic Reviews for Jimmy the Greatest!

Kirkus Reviews

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/ … / We dance and we box / and we don’t / sit around waiting / to go someplace else.” Idealized as it may be, the idyllic setting and smiling, bright-eyed faces on view in the illustrations make his choice easy to understand.

Apr 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Jimmy the Greatest!

Publishers Weekly

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This poignant, funny creation from the team behind Sopa de frijoles/Bean Soup seems to promise big things for its hero.

Apr 09 2012 | Read Full Review of Jimmy the Greatest!

PreS-Gr 2—Jimmy lives in a small Caribbean town with "one small church and if you're lucky, a little gym where you can hit a punching bag." At the gym, Jimmy learns about the history and struggles of boxer Muhammad Ali and is discovered by trainer Don Apolinar. Seeing similarities between Ali and...

Aug 01 2013 | Read Full Review of Jimmy the Greatest!

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